Buffet Of Blessings!

A friend once asked me why I am so blessed.  Is God playing favorites?  Am I blessed because I serve a lot in my community?

I believe that blessings are equally given to all.  God knows no partiality.  It is all up to us how we can have the blessings we want!

Let me share a story on how we can access the unlimited blessings of God.

There was a man named Peter who lived in the farm all his life.

One day, he decided to go to the city to experience eating in an eat all you can buffet.  The next morning, he got on a bus and went off to the city.  Upon arriving, he went to the best eat all you can buffet in town.  He entered the restaurant and sat on the chair and then he waited for a waiter to take his order.  After 30 minutes, a waiter approached him and said, “Sir, why are you not eating?”

In frustration, Peter replied, “What kind of a restaurant is this!  I have been sitting here for 30 minutes and no one is taking my order.” The waiter told him, “sir, this is an eat all you can buffet. All you need to do is take your plate and go to the buffet table and get food.”

Peter replied, “Oh, I thought ‘buffet’ was a kind of food!”

Anyway, before going to the buffet table Peter asked the waiter, “Is it okay for me to get a slice of roast beef, a piece of crab, two pieces of fried chicken leg, and because I am Filipino, a cup of rice?”

The waiter answered, “Yes sir!  You can get as much as you can.”

To his amazement, Peter said, “Are you saying I can fill my plate with food and if I want more I just go back and fill my plate again?”

The waiter said, “Sir, whatever you see in the table is potentially yours.  You can get whatever you want as much as you want and you can go back again and again even without my permission.”  The end.

I know you’re wondering how the story ended. It doesn’t really matter because I’m sure Peter is overjoyed by his experience and no doubt, he will be telling all his friends about it.

By the way, can you guess the moral lesson of the story?

The moral lesson is – if you want a waiter to serve you, do not eat in an eat all you can buffet!

Kidding aside, I believe God’s blessings is like food prepared in a buffet table.

If you are hungry for blessings, you need to act like standing up and go to the table.  The scripture says ask and you shall receive.  Asking is an action verb.  You cannot receive if you do not act and faith without action is death faith.

When you find yourself complaining everyday as to why you are not receiving God’s blessings, you may want to ask yourself, am I just like Peter sitting down in this grand buffet of blessings?

It’s sad when people always complain about their life and yet, they are unwilling to do something.

The table is set and the food is prepared, all you need to do is stand up, walk to the table, and fill your plate with the food.

Don’t ask why others have more in their plates because how much you put in your plate is all up to you.

There will also be times when the food you want to eat is not in the table.

I remember a time when I was craving for snow crabs.  We went to a seafood buffet expecting to eat all the crabs I can.  I got disappointment at the buffet table because the dish that hold the snow crabs was empty!

Despite my disappointed, my attention was caught by the newly poured fried shrimps and deep fried fish fillet! Yes!

It’s frustrating when our expectations are not met.  When we get overwhelmed by frustrations, we tend to focus on what’s not there and we miss the opportunity to enjoy what is there – what is already in front of us!

If you missed the opportunity of having the blessings you want, try again.  Maybe it’s not yet time for you to have it.  Everything has its own time.  If that blessing is really meant for you, it will be given to you in a perfect time.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

In our lives, there will be times when the blessings that we have been praying for a long time are not there.

Be patient because God’s abundance is everlasting.  The whole universe can never consume the blessings of God. There is more than enough for each and every one of us.

Do not despair if the food you want is not in the buffet table. There is only one reason why it is not yet there – it’s still being cooked in the kitchen.

In my case, that was true enough.  When I got back in the buffet table, there it was, newly cooked king crabs being poured in the dish! (I expected snow crabs and I got king crabs!)

Enjoy the blessings that you have while waiting for that blessing you’ve been praying for.  God is preparing in His grand kitchen the blessing that is intended for you.  He prepares only the best for you.

So, what are we waiting for?

The next time you want a great job, stand up and get the best job for you!  If the best job is not yet there, do the best and enjoy what you are doing.

If you want a good family life, stand up and create the best memories!  If your family is separated, never lose hope because God creates your happy endings.

If you need money, stand up and build a sustainable income stream!  If nothing seems to work for you, keep asking for guidance because with God, nothing is impossible.

God can make everything good for you.  His plans are all for our own good but, whatever the outcome of your life, it is all up to you.

Finally, in a buffet, there is always dessert.  Make sure to leave some space for dessert because desserts are the best part of your meal.

Just like in life, our God prepares the best for last.  Make sure you have room for it!

God is the greatest!

Give All You Can

What will you do once you achieve your financial dreams?

This is what Jesus has to say to a rich man, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  (Matthew 19:21)

If you worked all your life to be wealthy, this doesn’t sound right.  I mean, give away all that you worked for to be complete?

The bible says we have to give everything to be complete but the world today teaches the opposite. So, if you have great possessions, are you doomed to be incomplete?

Okay, before giving away all you have, let us examine what rich people have when Jesus spoke these words about 2000 years ago. They have lands, farms, livestock, crops, herds, servants and gold.

Today, rich people have lands, farms, livestock, crops, herds, butlers and maids, and hedge funds plus mansions, exotic cars, luxury yacht, private jet, private island and so on.

An average person today would own a house, a car, a smartphone, a computer and a wifi for posting pictures in Facebook.

Question: Are you willing to give up all these things to be complete?

Using my limited wisdom, I don’t think God wants us to literally sell all our possessions to be complete.  Depending on your vocation in life, this will determine your interpretation on the meaning of this verse.  A Benedictine monk can literally follow this teaching without any difficulty but for a family man, this is difficult to discern.

As a family man myself, my primary vocation is to be a good provider for my family.  I also have big dreams in life and one of them is to empower the next generation and leave a good legacy behind.  To be able to do this, I need resources and one of them are my possessions.

If you ask me, when your possessions are the reason why you could not follow God, that’s the time when you can never be complete.  If you are too attached to your material things, your possessions, you won’t have treasures in heaven.

For me, I chose to gain all I can, I choose to save all I can so I can give as much as I can.  If I keep all my possession for myself, I’m just building a wall that will eventually prevent me to see what is most important in my life.  Every time I give, a brick is removed from that wall and I begin to see the true beauty of life. I believe this is God’s purpose for me.

When you give, expect nothing in return.  Give with your whole heart and give cheerfully!

You give because you know it is the right thing to do.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

What inspires me to give all I can to God is found in the book of Malachi.  In this book, God challenged the Israelites (all of us) to test Him. It says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11)

By tithing, God opens the windows of heaven for us!  And there’s more — it guarantees the protection and preservation of what we are building here in earth!

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38)

There you go!

Don’t worry how much you will give, because the more you give, the more you will receive.

Earlier in my life, I was not a very generous person. I say this because true generosity is completely selfless.  I thought I am better off spending my money for myself rather than sharing it.  I was so attached with money.

True giving comes with no strings attached.  You focus on the needs of others while leaving your own desires behind.

Giving is not only about sharing your possessions. You can also share your time and talents.

In my case, I use my time and talent by blessing others through my blogs (considering it’s my birthday – Oct 22, I should be having a good time but instead I’m writing for you).  For more than 6 years, I’m very blessed to say that it has been a source of inspiration for many people around the world.

When you find fulfillment in giving using your time, talent and resources, your world will never be the same again.

A lot of people are terrified to give because giving requires you to take away something from yourself.  But you know what, I wish I could share something about the benefits of hoarding your wealth but I still have to find a person who have self-worth by being selfish.  Greedy people may have net worth but zero self-worth. They will never have contentment.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”  (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19)

Give all you can for God and everything will be added unto you!

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

May God open the windows of heaven and pour out His abundant blessings into your life until it overflows.

God is the greatest!

Save All You Can (Part 2)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)

In my last article, I encouraged you to store treasures on earth by paying yourself first.  However, we should not stop there because that is only secondary. We must love God first then our neighbor as ourselves.

Investing for your financial security should be done side by side with investing for your spiritual security.  A good retirement here on earth is great but our ultimate goal is to have an awesome retirement in heaven.  Retirement on earth can only last for years.  Retirement in heaven is eternal.

Before anything, can I ask you something?  (I guess you have no choice) – How can you help people financially when you yourself have no money?  You can pray for them and give encouragement, but is that enough?

Through the years I have I learned that it’s not fun being poor especially when you care a lot.  I feel really bad when someone asks me for financial help and all I can do is to pray for them. I know God will send help to people who are in need but I find it more fulfilling when the help is channeled through me. James 2:17 says, “…Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

God gave us freewill to choose our actions and I believe with this freewill, He allowed us to choose what we can be.  We can – “be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.  It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)

Being rich only in treasure is okay but, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25) 

We have to strive not only to be rich in treasure but also to be rich in our faith so we don’t forfeit ourselves.

How do we invest to grow our faith?

Be aware that investing to grow one’s faith is not about doing pious and religious works.  We are saved not by our faith alone or by works alone – we are saved by the grace of God. You reap the harvest of the good works you did while you are still living. It is my belief that when you die happy and fulfilled, it’s not far that you will continue to be happy after death.

My first rule in life is “Do no harm.”  If you love your neighbor as yourself, you are also loving God because you obey His commandment. When you obey God, you grow in your faith.

People make mistakes and fail in life. There will be situations when you will not be able to avoid harming others whether intentionally or unintentionally.  However, it’s important that you ask forgiveness to the people you have wronged simply because it is the right thing to do. In the Christian faith, forgiveness is essential.

When you forgive or when you ask forgiveness, you are putting a lump sum deposit in your “relationship account.”  Loving your neighbors is investing in your relationship.

Your nearest neighbor is your family – your mom, dad, brother, sister, wife and kids.

Your investment grows when you nourish your relationships through investing in great memories!

Investing in great memories can be as simple as dining outside, or walking in the park as a family, or if your family is far away, meeting them every day using technology like Face time.

Whatever you do, make sure you do the most essential part of being together – communicate with each other.  Share your dreams, talk about anything especially the things that will make you laugh.  Remove all the distractions during bonding time like cellphones and cellphones and did I mention cellphones?

Your gains will depend on how much you invest.  The words “how much” is not measured by how much money you spend but it is measured by how much you love.

Another way of saving for your spiritual retirement is through serving your community.

Although serving a community does not guarantee you a spot in heaven, it is a place where you can share, learn and grow your spirituality and your character.  Remember, not all who say’s “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of God.  Serving a community is great but the more important question is – did you love your neighbor?

When save all you can, you will find true gratification.

Contentment in life is when you say - “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  Your focus in life is for the Lord not to yourself.  More blessings are given to you because you care more.

Remember, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5)

Too often we fill ourselves with material things to fill a void or a need in our lives. Let us aim to have a deep and lasting happiness that always satisfies. This can only be achieved when our lives are centered to God and not on the things we have.

God will supply all of our needs.

Live humbly even in abundance.  Serve God and be content with what you have.

This is how you can save all you can.

Of course, no activity is enough without the grace of God.

Finally, let us follow the words of Paul the apostle, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

When you save all you can, you will multiply your ability to do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthen us.

If you think you are still poor and you have nothing to save, always remember this – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

At the end of the day, if you think you did your best but your best is not good enough, don’t worry, there is no shortage on the grace of God and God’s grace is more than enough!

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

God is the greatest!